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Here’s how long the CDC says it would take to control the coronavirus pandemic if everyone did what they should

Published Oct 27th, 2020 5:33PM EDT
Mask Wearing
Image: stnazkul/Adobe

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  • The coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. is worse today than it’s ever been.
  • CDC director Robert Redfield believes the U.S. could defeat the coronavirus in 12 weeks if people started taking coronavirus safety guidelines like wearing masks more seriously.
  • The coronavirus is spreading rapidly across a majority of U.S. states and experts are anticipating a huge spike in infections now that colder weather is settling in.

It’s depressing to acknowledge, but the severity of the coronavirus pandemic today is actually worse than it was back in April and July. As it stands now, coronavirus infections in the U.S. have increased by 40% over the last two weeks while deaths have shot up by 14%.

Going forward, with colder weather settling in and people congregating indoors, experts believe that the next 2-3 months “are going to be the darkest of the entire pandemic.” Recall, indoor gatherings are disproportionately responsible for coronavirus infections and superspreader events. What’s more, the coronavirus tends to spread more readily in cooler air environments.

“We need to pay a little bit more attention now to the recirculation of air indoors,” Dr. Fauci said last month, “which tells you that mask-wearing indoors when you’re in a situation like that is something that is as important as wearing masks when you’re outside dealing with individuals who you don’t know where they came from or who they are.”

The sad reality is that the U.S. could have avoided this situation if people simply took coronavirus safety precautions seriously from the very beginning. Unfortunately, many people across the country steadfastly refused to wear masks and willfully ignored social distancing guidelines for months.

So where does that leave us now? Well, it’s probably a good time to revisit some old advice from CDC director Robert Redfield who said that the U.S. would be able to effectively combat the coronavirus if people universally wore masks and socially distanced for 12 weeks.

“It’s in our hands, within our grasp,” Redfield said a few weeks ago. “But it is going to require all of us to embrace these mitigation steps. And we’re going to need to do that four, six, eight, 10, 12 weeks and then we will see this outbreak under control.”

Sadly, if people actually followed Redfield’s advice when he first brought it up, we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in now.

And speaking to the efficacy of masks, it’s worth highlighting some projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. According to projections released earlier in the month, the coronavirus death rate could reach 2,900 per day by the end of December. If everyone started wearing masks en masse, however, that projection drops down to 600-700 deaths per day. And further highlighting the efficacy of masks, the projection jumps up to 7,200 per day in a scenario where no one wears masks and businesses re-open at 100% capacity.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.